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Vaccinations helping win the measles battle

SHARE Vaccinations helping win the measles battle

Recently health

and relief organizations announced that measles deaths decreased by 74

percent worldwide from 2000 to 2007. The number of deaths dropped from 750,000

in 2000 to 197,000 in 2008. The significant decrease in measles deaths was because of extensive vaccination efforts.

The Measles Initiative is

behind the vaccination effort that has saved millions of lives. It's led by the

American Red Cross, the United Nations Foundation, the U.S. Centers for Disease

Control and Prevention, UNICEF and the World Health Organization. The Church of

Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is

also a partner.

"It is gratifying to know that, due to

the generous donations of time and means of selfless individuals, millions of

lives have been saved," said Presiding Bishop

David H. Burton. "The church praises the work that has been done by all

organizations involved to eradicate measles and is proud to be a partner in this


The church first

became involved in the measles campaign in 2003. It is now one of the church's humanitarian initiatives, along with clean water projects, wheelchair

distribution, neonatal-resuscitation training and vision-treatment training.

Using 54,784 Mormon

volunteers, the church has contributed to measles campaigns in 28 countries. In

total, 189,261,345 children have been vaccinated in the campaigns where church

members participated, according to Church Welfare Services.The church also

has donated millions of dollars to the effort. "We have provided financial support, but

even more important, we've had thousands of members of the church involved in

helping with these campaigns," said Garry Flake of Church Welfare Services.

The United Nations' goal is to reduce

measles deaths by 90 percent from 2000 to 2010. The church will continue to be a

partner in helping to meet that goal.

See the church news release in its original presentation at LDS.org.